The Carolina Panthers have fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady during the team’s bye in Week 13. The Panthers made the announcement in the middle of action on Sunday with the 1 p.m. games in full swing. Senior offensive assistant Jeff Nixon will serve as OC for the rest of the 2021 season with five games remaining. Here’s a statement from head coach Matt Rhule.
“I met with Joe this morning and informed him that I have decided to make a change,” said Rhule. “I’m very grateful to him for his time and effort in helping us get established over this past year and a half.”
The Panthers are 5-7 on the season with five games left to go and are still somewhat in the playoff picture. Carolina started the season strong with 3 straight wins before losing five of six games. With RB Christian McCaffrey injured most of the season, the offense has struggled, averaging under 20 points per game, in the bottom half of the NFL. The Panthers rank 26th in yards per game at 308.7.
Brady was initially tasked at making the offense work with QB Sam Darnold, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the New York Jets. Darnold underperformed in 9 starts this season and has been injured lately, which was what sparked the return of QB Cam Newton. The former MVP didn’t solve any problems and the Panthers entered the bye with back-to-back losses. PJ Walker replaced Newton last week against the Dolphins.
Rhule wanted Brady to run the ball more, so there was a clear difference in opinion on that front. It’s tough to force the run when you’re trailing and missing arguably the best RB in the NFL for most of the season. The Panthers have a solid WR core with DJ Moore and Robby Anderson, but behind those two, the team never really found a consistent threat in the passing game.